On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee commenced its confirmation hearing of Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), their longtime colleague in the Senate and the former attorney general of Alabama. Prior to the proceedings, Sessions, whom President-elect Donald Trump has nominated for U.S. attorney general, visited with family, who came to support him in the biggest job interview of his life.
Of the entire assembled Sessions clan, one family member in particular stood out to MTV News correspondent Ira Madison III. This reporter found it troubling that the junior senator from Alabama was, in plain view, holding in his lap a toddler who appeared to be of Asian descent.
“Sessions, sir, kindly return this Asian baby to the Toys ‘R’ Us you stole her from,” Madison wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
When hundreds of users pointed out that “this Asian baby” was, in fact, Sessions’s granddaughter, Madison feigned previous knowledge of this fact, and fired off a series of tweets in efforts to justify his astonishingly offensive remarks about a little girl.
“There is no reason for that child to be in his lap in a hearing other than to send an ‘I’m not racist’ message,” he continued.
No reason, of course, except that her entire family — which includes Sessions’s daughter, Ruth, and her Asian-American husband, John — was present to witness the most important moment of her grandfather’s professional career.
Madison never issued an apology for his initial tweet. Instead, the lifestyle blogger, who in a delicious twist of irony manages a site called “Delete Your Account,” sent several more explaining that it was Senator Sessions who was the racist, exploiting his own grandchildren to convince the public he wasn’t one.
“Why is she a prop?” he mused in another post. “Sessions argued for a policy that in the 1880s was used to discriminate against Asian Americans.”
The rambling tweet storm, which earned Madison the consternation of CNN anchor Jake Tapper, resulted in a statement from MTV insisting that their employees’ views do not represent those of the network. But Madison kept the anti-Sessions tweets coming, obviously undeterred by the public backlash he faced for his insensitivity.
Madison’s Twitter rampage isn’t a unique meltdown for a leftist faced with the reality of actual diversity among Republicans and their families, especially as it concerns children. In a 2013 panel on MSNBC’s now-canceled “Melissa Harris-Perry Show,” guests poked fun at former Republican Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for his annual Christmas card, which featured a photograph of his growing family. In it, a small army of grandchildren surrounds Romney and his wife, Ann. The newest Romney child, Kieran, sits upon the governor’s knee.
Kieran is different from his cousins — not in the love that he is shown by his grandparents, but in the color of his skin. The adopted son of Ben and Andelynne Romney, Kieran is African-American, which is inexplicably hilarious to some especially cruel MSNBC commentators who thought ridiculing an infant on television was a great way to spread some holiday cheer.
Actress Pia Glenn sang, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” while comedian Dean Obeidallah chimed in that Kieran’s membership in the Romney family “really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC,” where, at the convention, “they find the one black person.”
Democrats don’t reserve their nastiness only for innocent children in Republican families. Sometimes they pick on people their own size — Republican adults who also happen to be people they think should be Democrats.
Former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal knows firsthand that the Left reserves its tolerance exclusively for those who agree with their politics. Throughout his time in public service, they’ve been utterly obsessed with what they see as his willingness to conceal his Indian heritage for political gain.
As a little boy, Jindal, whose legal first name is actually Piyush, loved the popular television series “The Brady Bunch.” So he chose the nickname “Bobby” as a tribute to the show’s youngest character, Bobby Brady.
Then, in high school, Jindal began to question the Hindu faith of his parents. He was intrigued by Catholicism, the dominant religion in our shared hometown of Baton Rouge, and sought answers from Christian classmates. After deep study spanning several years, Jindal converted to Catholicism at the age of 19, fully embracing the religion’s most traditional practices and writing extensively about his faith experience.
Both of these decisions, which were made in the first two decades of his life, took place before Jindal launched his political career. At this point in time, Jindal was weighing becoming a doctor, and while at Brown University, he received an admissions offer from Harvard School of Medicine.
But that didn’t stop liberals from ascribing sinister motivations to Jindal’s affirming his individuality as a kid. Every personal decision he’s ever made, they predictably claim, is meant to “whitewash” his Indian heritage in hopes of achieving political success.
In Louisiana, Democrat activists derisively refer to him by his legal name, “Piyush,” as an insinuation that he’s a sellout. Their smears went to print in a 2015 Washington Post story, where academics and commentators condemned Jindal’s assimilation into Louisiana culture as an abandonment of his Indian heritage.
“There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal,” Pearson Cross, a political-science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, told writers Tyler Bridges and Annie Gowen.
This story, like so many others before it, paints Jindal’s conversion as necessary maneuvering to be successful in Republican politics. The accusation is incredibly insulting and, if true, would have required extraordinary foresight on the part of a teenager, including faking the exorcism of a college friend and writing about it in great detail in a 1994 feature in the New Oxford Review.
Jindal’s earnest self-realization appears to be a source of tremendous grief to his detractors, and since they don’t agree with his politics, they believe they’re entitled to malign him for it. It’s almost as though they forgot their rabid obsession with a local radio host calling then-senator Barack Obama by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, at a campaign rally in 2008.
Another person who understands the Left’s remarkable intolerance of intellectual diversity is my former boss, Herman Cain, who endured name-calling and contempt from the left on a pretty regular basis, especially by those purporting to speak for the entire black community in America.
A 2011 Huffington Post column referred to Cain as “the perfect American racist” for “volunteer[ing] to become the cute little political puppet which allows white America to say the things that they are afraid to say.” MSNBC commentator Touré diminished the business tycoon as the political version of “Flavor Flav.” And the popular African-American cultural hub Bossip resurrected the characterization of the onetime Republican presidential candidate as an “Uncle Tom” as recently as June 2016.
Cain is not the only African-American Republican who has been on the receiving end of a self-righteous finger wag from Democratic politicians for his conservatism. Jim Clyburn, a congressman from South Carolina who enjoys a recently created leadership position in Nancy Pelosi’s minority party, had a big problem with then-congressman Tim Scott being a Republican.
“If you call progress electing a person with the pigmentation that he has, who votes against the interest and aspirations of 95 percent of the black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress,” Clyburn seethed in a 2014 Washington Post profile of Scott.
Clyburn is evidently permitted to make such remarks about Scott because both men are black. But being white didn’t stop disgraced former congressman Jim Moran (D., Va.) from making similar comments about Allen West, an African-American Republican with whom he served in the House of Representatives, in a 2012 interview with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir.
In it, Moran lambasted West for being conservative, arguing that the “clueless” Army colonel did not appreciate “his ancestors’ sweat, sacrifice, blood” that put him in a position to succeed. Instead, Moran claimed, West yanked the ladder from underneath those climbing behind him after he had already ascended to the top, unconcerned with the needs of black Americans less fortunate than he.
After all, if you’re a Republican, the personal choices you make about how you live your life or what you believe aren’t really personal at all. According to the progressive intelligentsia, they’re a product of your moral failing to appreciate the cultural categories in which they have so generously arranged you.
Not all liberals are this way. They’re just in a party that tolerates opinions like these and exalts those who spew them. Unlike the Right, the Left will never expel one of its own for immorality or embarrassment. Being a Democrat means being a part of a team that, no matter the cost, always sticks together.
For far too many standard-bearers of their movement, disagreement with any conservative on policy need not be tempered by basic civility, since the Left is always entitled to be mad about whatever it is they’re mad about, and thus, the ends always justify the means.
Who cares if you excoriate a toddler not even old enough to read your tweet? Her grandfather’s a Republican senator, so she had it coming.
— Ellen Carmichael is president of the Lafayette Company, a political consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. She has served as a senior communications adviser for a Republican presidential campaign, members of Congress, and statewide elected officials.